Seeing something that looks like a white mold on your chocolate is never fun. The first instinct is to throw the chocolate away quickly. But after a few seconds, you realize that chocolate usually doesn’t have any moisture, so the first question in your head most probably is, is this possible? Can chocolate grow mold?
So for this reason, I thought I would write an entire article to answer your question and clarify some things. Because I think there is nothing that’s more off-putting than seeing your chocolate gone bad.
Can chocolate mold?
Chocolate doesn’t mold. The white growth you see on your chocolate is fat or sugar bloom.
This can happen when the chocolate is not properly stored, or the temperature is inadequate. Sugar blooms appear when the chocolate is kept in a humid place because the sugar content of it will get to the surface and re-solidifies again. The fat blooms appear when you store the chocolate in a warmer place because the fat content gets to the surface of your chocolate and stays there after it cools down.
It looks terrible, I know, but it is not mold, so don’t worry. We will get in more detail about both types of bloom later.
How chocolate is made
Chocolate production is a long process that involves several steps:
-Cocoa cultivation. Cocoa trees must be cultivated, to grow pods, and to get beans from those pods.
-Harvesting. Ripened cocoa pods are harvested.
-Fermentation. Raw, ripe cocoa beans must first ferment to develop flavor. This process usually takes 2-9 days and there are 2 different ways to do it: the heap method in Africa and a system of cascading boxes in Latin America, check out here.
-Drying and shipping. Fermented beans must be dried then shipped to the manufacturer.
-Prepare cocoa mass. Here the beans are ground into nibs and then the nibs are ground into cocoa mass. The cocoa mass is then pressed to separate the cocoa butter from the dry cocoa powder.
-Conching. This is when the solid parts are mixed again, with the cocoa butter, but this time sugar and milk are added. The result is chocolate as we know it, in a simpler form.
-Tempering and molding. The chocolate will get the desired shape during this process because it is brought to a certain temperature that permits you to mold the chocolate as you want. Tempering the chocolate also stabilizes the fat in the chocolate.
These last 2 steps are the most important when understanding why chocolate does not grow mold. The fat and sugar in the chocolate must be tempered, and if you store chocolate in a warm, they will rise to the surface. The white o the chocolate is not mold, it is simply fat or sugar bloom.
What is sugar bloom?
Sugar bloom is the white dry layer that appears on chocolate. As we know, chocolate is made from cocoa beans, cocoa butter, milk, and sugar.
That means that when chocolate is kept in a humid place, the sugar content in it will be attracted by this moisture and get to the chocolate’s surface.
So the moisture will dissolve the sugar, and the moisture will evaporate, the sugar will become solid again, which explains the white layer on your chocolate.
Read Also: Difference between carob and chocolate
What is fat bloom?
Fat bloom is characterized by the greyish streaks that appear on your chocolate. The process is almost the same as with sugar bloom, but you need a warm temperature that will make cocoa butter soften and get to the surface this time. So the thing you see on your chocolate is not mold, it is re-solidified cocoa butter.
Now that you know both bloom types, you can be confident that this is not moldy chocolate. To check which type of bloom it is, you can wipe the chocolate with a wet finger, and sugar bloom must dissolve.
Also, if you wipe the chocolate with a dry finger, it should feel waxy.
Can you still eat bloomed chocolate?
Bloomed chocolate is safe to eat no matter the type of bloom on it. The taste can differ, and it might not be the most pleasant thing you see, but it should not do any harm.
You can also use it for baking if you don’t want to eat the chocolate with the white spots. By the way, you may also notice the same white spots on the chocolate chips.
Can chocolate blooming be avoided?
Chocolate blooming can be avoided by storing the chocolate in a dry place at a cool temperature.
There are many occasions when it comes like this from the store, already bloomed. But it also can develop bloom if you don’t store it properly.
If the chocolate doesn’t have transparent packing it is impossible for you to know if you bought it this way or you didn’t store it properly. Because once the bloom appears, it doesn’t melt back into the chocolate unless tempered again.
Preferably check the expiration date on the chocolate and buy the one that will expire last. The more time chocolate spent in the deposits the more chances are that it wasn’t stored well and developed fat or sugar bloom.
How to store chocolate
The best way to store your chocolate is in a dry place at a cool temperature in an air-tight container and away from direct sunlight.
Please do not keep it in the fridge. Chocolate will take the smell from the other food you have in there. The temperature you should aim for is 59-64 F or 15-17 C.
And also, keep it away from direct sunlight because it can oxidate and bloom when you keep your chocolate in contact with light and air.
Should you scrape the bloom from the chocolate?
You do not have to scrape the bloom from your chocolate. But if you can’t eat it this way, you can scrape it with a knife.
You might have the surprise to notice that it is deeper than you may initially think. But usually, it should not be to the center of the chocolate.
You can temper the chocolate and eat it after the fact if you want. But this can alter the taste a little bit.
Read also: Chocolate Mousse VS Ganache
Is there any chance to be actual mold on the chocolate?
There are very few chances for it to be actual mold on your chocolate.
But be sure to check the packing when you buy the chocolate because if it is kept in a humid, moldy place, it can get to your chocolate and stay there.
But if you bought a bar of perfectly fine chocolate, it should not grow mold.
So we found out that chocolate doesn’t mold. It only makes fat or sugar bloom, which looks bad but is not a mold, so you should not worry about it.
Yes, it doesn’t look great, but you can still eat your chocolate. There are not many things worse than throwing food away.
Also, you can use it to make some nice cookies or a delicious chocolate cake with the bloomed chocolate so this way you will not see that it blooms and you can fully enjoy your chocolate.